When your pet is experiencing an unexpected illness or injury, acting fast can make a huge difference in having a successful outcome. Pet urgent care and emergency pet care are generally two different options for fast response pet care although with some overlap. 

Finding the right kind of care for your pet as quickly as possible could mean the difference between life and death (or other undesired outcomes). Keep reading to find out about pet urgent care and when it is the right option for your medical needs:

Pet Urgent Care Basics

A good way to remember the difference between urgent care and emergency care is: urgent care is for situations that require immediate medical attention, but are not considered actively life-threatening. Emergency and critical care is primarily focused on illness or injury considered life-threatening (or potentially life threatening) without veterinary intervention. If you are ever unsure if your pet is experiencing an emergency that requires urgent or emergency care, please call and we will direct you to the right location. We have ER vet techs on duty 24/7 that can help you determine the difference. 

Common Pet Urgent Care Cases

As a pet owner, it is good to be prepared for unexpected situations, and knowing what makes a case “urgent” is an important way to prepare yourself. Some of the most common pet urgent care cases we see are:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea 
  • Bites
  • Rashes or patches of hair loss
  • Dehydration (please note: heat stroke can be life-threatening, so be sure to call the veterinarian first to make sure you do not need emergency care)
  • Gashes or other wounds
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Eye or ear issues or infections
  • Pale gums (this could be a sign of an oxygen issue)
  • Blood in the urine or stool
  • Ingesting a toxin

Although these scenarios are not (usually) considered “emergencies,” they still require fast medical intervention. It is best not to wait for a regular appointment, especially if the hospital is booking several days out. For those with urgent care services, you can get in to see a veterinarian as quickly as possible to give your pet the best chance at a full recovery.

Pet First-Aid

Knowing some basic pet first-aid can help you buy time if you find your pet in need of urgent care. If your pet is bleeding, for example, wrap gauze tightly around the wound and apply pressure for about three minutes to give the wound a chance to clot. If your pet is vomiting or has diarrhea, try to keep them comfortable and provide plenty of water to try to avoid dehydration. Get in to see a veterinarian as soon as possible to find the source of the problem and the best treatment.

Even if your pet is friendly, you should muzzle an injured pet before attempting first-aid. An injured pet will be nervous and jumpy, and might accidentally bite you as you try to help. Try to remain as calm as possible (we know it can be difficult) so you do not scare the animal more before you can provide relief.

Oakland Veterinary Referral Services is here with top-tier veterinary specialty and emergency medicine in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. We work with many fine veterinary hospitals in the area who offer pet urgent care in their practice. If you think your pet is experiencing a veterinary emergency, please call us at (248) 334-6877. We will do everything we can to get you the help you need.